How it Started
With the fiscal support of Oak View Renewal Partnership (OVRP) and Goodwill of Orange County, CIELO was first started in 2012 as a project to serve the under-resourced Oak View community of Huntington Beach.
As the program was tested and refined in Oak View, a 2014 economic study of CIELO revealed that it had the potential to change the lives of low-income and underserved job seekers in the broader Orange County area. With this proof of concept, CIELO officially launched in 2015, under fiscal sponsorship of OVRP, and gained its own 501c3 status in 2018.
Pivoting to Entrepreneurship
In July 2021, CIELO entered a new phase of growth and shifted away from workforce development services. Recognizing the opportunity for impact, CIELO established a finer focus on entrepreneurship education and coaching, allocating its team and resources to the success and impact of aspiring entrepreneurs. While this was a difficult decision to make, we know that many trustworthy, dependable partner organizations exist in Orange County for us to refer job seekers and career builders.
Our Impact to Date
CIELO now serves as a small business support system for all Orange County residents, with a focus on low-income and under-resourced individuals who lack access to resources, knowledge, and support to change their economic trajectory. We aim to reduce opportunity inequality by providing our target population with the resources or connections they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Since its official launch, CIELO has achieved the following community impact:
- We’ve served over 2,700 clients and helped over 300 businesses launch or become ready-to-launch.
- Of the clients we’ve served, over 9 out of 10 clients are low-income, with over 80 percent earning less than $40,000 annually.
- Over 80 percent of our clients were BIPOC, 72 percent were female, 15 percent were veterans, and 30 percent had no high school diploma or GED.
- We’ve seen over 75 percent of our clients increase their income as a result of participating in our program.